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It's vital to spot the signs of a heart attack. Here we look at the symptoms a heart attack can include

Heart and circulatory disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK. 

The early signs of a heart attack can vary and may not always feel severe. The most common symptoms include squeezing across the chest and a feeling of unease. 

New research reveals that just 41% of those surveyed knew sweating was a sign of a heart attack, and only 27% of people knew feeling weak, lightheaded or a having a feeling of general unease were also symptoms. 

In addition, 75% of those surveyed wrongly thought a heart attack is the same as a cardiac arrest, and 46% did not recognise squeezing across the chest as a symptom of heart attacks. 

It can be easy to dismiss the early signs of a heart attack but it’s never too early to call 999 and describe your symptoms. The faster you act, the better the chance of a positive outcome.

Although the chest pain is often severe, some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. 

While the most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women is chest pain, women are more likely to experience other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Call 999 immediately if you think someone might be having a heart attack. The faster you act, the better their chances.

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

✚ chest pain – a sensation of pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across the chest 

✚ pain in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is spreading from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm is affected, but it can affect both arms), jaw, neck, back and tummy (abdomen) 

✚ feeling lightheaded or dizzy 

✚ sweating 

✚ shortness of breath 

✚ feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting) 

✚ an overwhelming sense of anxiety (similar to having a panic attack) 

✚ coughing or wheezing

Treating heart attacks

While waiting for an ambulance, it may help to chew and then swallow a tablet of aspirin (ideally 300mg), as long as the person having a heart attack is not allergic to aspirin.

Aspirin helps to thin the blood and improves blood flow to the heart.

In hospital, treatment for a heart attack depends on how serious it is.

The two main treatments are:

✚ using medicines to dissolve blood clots

✚ surgery to help restore blood to the heart

In the 1960s more than 7 out of 10 heart attacks in the UK were fatal. Today at least 7 out of 10 people survive



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